Blogs (28) >>
ECOOP 2016
Sun 17 - Fri 22 July 2016 Rome, Italy
Thu 21 Jul 2016 14:35 - 15:00 at Auditorium Loyola - Session 5 Chair(s): Kim Bruce

Recent years have seen growing interest in the retrofitting of type systems onto dynamically-typed programming languages, in order to improve type safety, programmer productivity, or performance. In such cases, type system developers must strike a delicate balance between disallowing popular coding patterns in order to keep the type system simple and intuitively appealing, or including them at the expense of additional complexity and effort. Thus far, the process for designing retrofitted type systems has been largely ad-hoc, because evaluating multiple variations of a type system on large bodies of existing code is a significant undertaking.

We present trace typing: a framework for automatically and quantitatively evaluating variations of a retrofitted type system on large code bases. The trace typing approach involves gathering traces of program executions, inferring types for instances of variables and expressions occurring in a trace, and merging types according to merge strategies that reflect specific (combinations of) choices in the source-level type system design space.

We evaluate trace typing through several experiments. We compare several variations of type systems retrofitted onto JavaScript, and measuring the number of program locations with type errors reported in each case on a benchmark suite of over two hundred thousand lines of JavaScript code. We also report on using trace typing to validate and guide the design of a new retrofitted type system, whose purpose is to enable ahead-of-time compilation for JavaScript. Finally, we leverage the types computed by trace typing to automatically identify tag tests - dynamic checks that refine a type - and examine the variety of tests identified.